Within the diversity and inclusion sphere, Veterans are very often included as a key diversity constituency. Many companies do have Veterans groups within their portfolio of Employee Resource Groups and hiring initiatives to support veterans. And veterans are also one of those diversity groups that truly intersects all the others: gender, race, LGBT and certainly people with disabilities given the physical and mental challenges many veterans face when returning home.
There years ago I was pleased to publish the blog, “The Value of Hiring our Veterans.” And I was proud to share that I was now a member of the North Carolina Governor’s Working Group on Veterans, Service Members and Their Families. And I was pleased to present “Introduction to LGBT Considerations in Mental Health Challenges,” at the May, 2015 working group meeting. It is important to note that our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service members serving our country truly deserve the same respect and support as all veterans.
At our most recent working group meeting in October, Ilario Pantano, formerly the State of North Carolina’s Director of Veteran Affairs and now Senior Director for Community Services with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) presented a stirring overview of the excellent progress over the past three years and the importance of our work.
What is special about what the working group, NCServes, AmericaServes and the Institute for Veteran and Military Families? Over the past three years, these teams have worked together to foster networking across the many different private and governmental agencies that support veterans in many different ways.
Ilario, in addition to reminding us that each person’s contribution to this effort, even in saving a single life, is so valuable, provided a 5 point outline for how NC Serves and the IVMF.
• Build a community effort to coordinate services
• Sustain by continually enlisting support from public and private stakeholders
• Partnering which expands the impact of each individual effort
• Pioneer by evolving into the broadest set of state and local support services
• Transform by enhancing the technological support mechanisms to effectively serve more people most effectively.
It is great to see a community come together and work to share across various initiatives instead of remaining siloed. This is a great example of how networking and team work can make all parties involved more effective. I am proud to be a part of this effort.